Unless you happen to be the prodigious Jack Wilshere or Cesc Fabregas, negotiating through the ranks of Arsenal's youth system can be tricky.
Just ask the likes of Chuks Aneke, Zak Ansah and Daniel Boateng, all set to be officially released from their expiring contracts on June 30.
Two players whose paths have taken a route somewhat in between, are former Gunner Carlos Vela, and current loanee Joel Campbell.
Adjudged not yet ready for the first team (Campbell was eligible this year after gaining a work permit) they found themselves loaned out to try their luck elsewhere.
Vela achieved this so successfully, that he decided to cut his losses, and upon moving on permanently to Real Sociedad where he has netted 34 times in two seasons.
The Mexican is a few years further along than Campbell, who has been on loan at Olympiakos this season, scoring 11 times and providing 12 assists.
Now amid reports Vela is close to coming back to Arsenal, the chances for Campbell are expected to take a hit in the process
Campbell, 21, has spoken keenly of his hope to return to the Gunners next season and fight for a place, showing a glimpse of what he is capable of against Manchester United in the Champions League.
But Vela is likely to block his path. Both players like to feature in similar positions, wide right, coming inside as a forward, but are already in competition with Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry.
Vela can play inside as a central striker, but he has proved more effective at Sociedad out wide, just like Campbell at Olympiakos and as he did at Real Betis a year earlier.
Arsene Wenger may still have hope to find a way to feature them both, but Vela's comeback, which he has earned, is likely to be another obstacle in the way of Joel Campbell becoming a regular next season.
This will leave player and club with a decision to keep him as a bit-part player or send him out on loan again, and if so where - is it time for him to play for a Premier League side?
The Vela model could also provide an alternate long-term plan for Campbell. Move elsewhere permanently on a deal including a buy-back clause, and hope to one day convince the Gunners to purchase that option.
Campbell fortunately has the perfect stage on which to stake his claim over the coming fortnight, with Costa Rica at the World Cup when he will come up against the defences of England, Italy and Uruguay.
If he dazzles then he may make it impossible for Wenger to ignore him, Vela or not, but if he can't then the Mexican's possible arrival could seal his fate for another season.